Original Poem: “In a Few Days”

In a few days
the world stops looking less blue.
Sooner or later
there’s bound to be something new.

In a few days
the clouds above my head will lift.
As eventually as forever
my meaning will sensibly shift.

In a few days
I’ll fall asleep in complete dark.
A night without noise
from the purple and invisible spark.

In a few days
things will get better.
Because a few can mean soon,
or reach as close as possible to never.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein, or perhaps more famously known as “The dude who wrote The Giving Tree” has actually written many stories alongside works of poetry; “Where the Sidewalk Ends” is one of those pieces of poetry. 

This collection of poems features works such as “Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too”, “Hug O’War”, “For Sale”, “Sick”, “Me and My Giant” and “Hat”.  These poems are generally short, whimsical, and full of wit.  They are fun to read to kids, to dogs, to parents, to grandparents, or to yourself.  The poems are often satirical.  One such poem is called “The Land of Happy”. 

In this poem Silverstein tells of a place where everyone is always happy, then ends it with saying how plain that would be (Silverstein, 143).  Another is “Forgotten Language” in which Silverstein laments the loss of human connection to nature (Silverstein, 149).  All in all, this is a fun collection of poems for anyone looking for something to read before going to bed or for something to read anytime.

-Ainsley H

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Book Review: Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: 9780451419170 ...

Leaves of Grass is a collection of romantic poems with more than 300 poems. The collection of Leaves of Grass is the representative work of the American poet Walt Whitman and the first collection of poetry with the national style in the history of American literature. It has created a generation of poetry style and has had a great impact on American poetry.

Leaves of Grass also has a major innovation in artistic form, the poet broke the long-standing format of American poetry and created a “free style” poetry form. In terms of the structure of the poem, the poet adopts a large number of forms such as refrain, row, long sentence and parallel structure. Whitman also resorted to the usage of symbols and metaphors. The collection is characterized by colloquialism, with a rich expressive force and eloquent style. The poetry is sincere and fervent. The style is bold and fresh, making one one feel sick after reading it.

Leaves of Grass plays a very important role in the history of American poetry and even in the history of literature. It is a world-renowned masterpiece that ushered in a new era of American national poetry and its influence on even the English language as a whole can be described as revolutionary. Whitman’s collection of leaves of Grass was first published in 1855 with only twelve poems. By the time of his death, the last edition contained nearly four hundred poems. He named his collection Leaves of Grass because they represented the most ordinary Americans at the bottom of our society.

-Coreen C.

Chamber Music by James Joyce

Chamber Music - Kindle edition by James Joyce. Literature & Fiction Kindle  eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Joyce started out as a poet. Chamber Music was his first work. Critics seem to have reached a final conclusion on it, such as the traditionality of the whole poem, traditional meter and rhyme, traditional image structure and so on. The musicality of the poetry is also widely talked about by critics. This was due to Joyce’s musical. According to the poet himself, every poem can be put to music. The style of the poem follows the romantic style of the 19th century, but it is not without sentimentality. There is also the integrity of the content, that is, the evolution of love and the journey of the soul, two threads that go hand in hand, complement each other, and constitute the emotional tone of the whole collection. And the poetry is stylistically very different from Joyce’s novels such as Ulysses. It is not unreasonable to point out that there is only one voice throughout the thirty-six poems.

For in the reader’s ears the hero is always pouring out his heart to his sweetheart, from infatuation, marriage proposals, happy conjunctions, to a change of heart, treachery, and, at last, solitary and drifting away. But we don’t hear the hero’s voice at the beginning, which would be too abrupt and leave the reader wondering if the hero is lyrically barking up the wrong tree. In other words, a stage should be set for the protagonist to perform first. Chamber Music is about the love story and mind journey of the hero, mainly told by his voice. In other words, the emotional experience between the male protagonist and the heroine is presented to the reader through the consciousness of the hero, that is, the dramatic expression of the emotional experience between them.

Broken Hearted

Broken Hearted

T’was impeccable, yet warped,

Repetitive, yet newfangled regularly.

Memories’ sadness is in presence,

Though, only evoked when the spirit wishes.

‘Tis a fight,

Where “moving on” is defined often,

“Attachment” is, too.

Seated alone, pondering,

How can this be overcome?

Knowledge from the wise is even proven insufficient.

Man’s best companion can’t even seek a smile,

Nor can nature’s sweetest creations.

How can this be overcome?

They say denial, anger, bargaining, depression, then acceptance,

None apply.
This feeling is unutterable,

One I swear is mine and mine only.

How can this be overcome?

Like a Satan in one’s path,

Only the stupid’s willpower could see hope.

Where the only solution is to advance,

Or seize agonizing consequences.

Rifle in hand,

Willpower in the other.

Ambition, clout, and courage tattooed on one’s shoulder,

The great battle begins.

Pushing away thoughts,

Urges set aside.

No peeking,

No asking,

No quitting.

It’s done!

Finally, ready to move on,

Acceptance becomes clear.

Pride falls,

Ache does, too.

I’ve done it,

Finally, moved on.

-Izzy G., 8th Grade

 

Anxiety

Suddenly, your mouth drops from a smile, and your eyebrows crinkle.

You take a sharp breath,

There’s nowhere near enough air in the world to satisfy you.

Fingernails dig into your tender skin,

Clenching your hands, as if you’re holding on for dear life.

So many sudden negative feelings…

Your muscles begin to freeze up, and you don’t know what to do with yourself.

Want to get up, but can’t.

Want to cry for help, but can’t.

Want to escape from this hell, but can’t.

Beginning to regain a little bit of consciousness, your hand reaches over for your phone to text a friend.

“You can’t do that. You just want attention.”

A frown builds, and there’s this sudden burst of anger within you.

“I can’t do this anymore”

Warm tears finally stream down.

You’re on the floor, hugging at a pillow, sobbing.

“I’m crazy.”

Picking up your phone again, you begin to scroll through social media.

Smiles.

Friends.

Fun.

All of their ‘happiness builds’ up and becomes your own rage.

“Why can’t I be like that?”

“You don’t deserve anything.”

“You’re not as good as you think you are.”

“You’re a fake.”

“Nobody likes you.”

“i know…”

Sobbing.

Screaming.

Breaking things.

And then,

As randomly as it started,

You feel fine.

“it’s over…

-Izzy G., 7th Grade

To My Poisoned Rose

A beautiful, yet insane mind you had,

To me my rose, you never would revel.

The wind would blow, but you were mad,

You would show your thorns and hide your petals.

Someone tried to yank you from your strong roots,

But your fierce thorns had gotten in the way,

The person’s hand had bled, while you would hoot,

Why would something as beautiful as you enjoy others pain?

Oh, but one winter, you died and withered!

No blood was shed, only a heart and soul.

I embraced you, but you struck a blizzard,

I bled, you laughed, screamed, “Peasant!” with control,

I loved you so, but you couldn’t love anyone,

I grabbed a knife and stabbed myself, you won.

-Kimi M.

Stress to Service

Stress:

Google says it’s “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”

According to psychology, it’s “uncomfortable emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes”

And students agree stress is “AP exams, finals, CIF games and oh, those two projects I won’t be starting until the night before”

In the wee hours of the night, students strive to obtain the intense desire for success

And the wee hours of the night cook the perfect atmosphere for boiling stress.

A child, a baby: a mere fifteen, sixteen, seventeen year old

Persisting, working, sweating like a mule until their transcript shows all gold.

Who can expect a student to sleep eight hours a night but juggle five hours of work?

The expectations, I’d say, are more than enough to irk.

Every year the college acceptance rates drastically drop

And little boys and girls suddenly forget what it means to take a break

and just stop.

Tell me why students who sacrifice their health and sleep

Are still expected to be a lively teen and not weep.

Convince me that students are making the right decisions

In cheating on tests, just to get the “A” and fulfill their college envisions.

Persuade me that the education system is treating their students right

and brainwashing us to believe that a score of 5 is what makes us bright.

Let’s start to encourage using our passion and our voices

To stand up and help society make the right choices.

To be politicized and involved while we’re youthful, proud, and loud.

Time is running out, we can’t wait around.

Third world countries await our kindness, shelters demand our service, feminists deserve our support.

In all due respect, that is more important and influential than a chemistry lab report.

-Jessica T.

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

This book, was incredible. It follows the perspective of three teenagers, Tony, Conner, and Vanessa. All who come from different backgrounds but are connected by mental illness. Tony struggles with pills, Vanessa with cutting, and Conner with suicidal thoughts. They all meet in a mental institution called Aspen Springs where they must fight their mental illness for a better life. This book is one of the longest books I’ve ever read, 666 pages.

Although, the book is written in a poem style, I really enjoyed it. This books made me feel all kinds of emotions, happiness, sadness, nervous, and many more. This book really changed my perspective on life, and made me appreciate that I have others around me. For this book, I recommended you read it if you have a high maturity level. I would definitely read this book again and others by this author. From the moment I read the first page to when I closed the book at the end, I was obsessed. I did not think I would love this book as much as I did. This book is definitely now in my top ten favorites. I highly recommend this book, and hope you find it as intriguing as I did!

-Kyndle W.

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy was written by Dante Alighieri who grew up in Florence, Italy during the Middle Ages. During this time, there was great political tension, especially between two groups. The first was for the papacy and they were called the Ghibelline. The other, which Dante was a member of, demanded of independence from the Church, and they were called the Guelph. After the Ghibelline fell, the Guelph broke into two separate sectors: the white Guelph and the black Guelph. Although initially the white Guelph were triumphant, the black Guelph returned not long after and exiled many of the prominent white leaders, Dante among them. While in exile, a vision came to him, and this is when he wrote The Divine Comedy.

There are three parts to the Comedy. It begins with the Inferno, which is probably the most widely known. The second book is called Purgatorio (Purgatory), and the third: Paradiso (Paradise). At the beginning of the poem, Dante describes how he has lost his way, and is lost in a figurative “dark wood”. Luckily, Virgil, Dante’s symbol for human reason, approaches him and explains that the only way he may return to the true way is if he makes the arduous journey through Inferno, Purgatory, and finally, Paradiso. Virgil acts as Dante’s guide through Inferno and Purgatory, but Beatrice (a character which represents divine love to Dante) leads him through Paradiso.

This book was interesting for numerous reasons. For one, I had never before read anything remotely like it. The comedy is formatted in stanzas, each with three lines. Coincidentally, there are thirty-three cantos (Italian for chapters) in each book, and there are three parts (Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradiso). There are many other elements in this book which revolved around the significance of the number three which was very interesting.

This book is packed with symbolism, analogies, and allegories. It was a bit difficult to wrap my head around some parts despite the fact that the writing itself wasn’t very extensive. I found it extremely interesting to think that all of this had come in the form of a vision to Dante. There is so much detail, and so many little complexities, which it makes it difficult to imagine how he could’ve recalled all of it in such illustrious detail.

This book was originally written in Italian, and there are many different translations, which all differ slightly depending on the translator and their take on Dante’s work. The version I read was translated by John Ciardi. I found this version very helpful as it had summaries at the beginning of each chapter, which really helped me to better understand the story.

Despite the fact that it is called The Divine Comedy, it’s not actually a comedy. The poem describes Dante’s journey through the three books as he found his way back to the true path. This book is fairly well-known, but I know few people who have actually read the entirety of it. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I still thought it was a very intriguing read.

-Elina T.

Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library